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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

See the letter from publishers to the Guardian opposing the closure of Middlesex University’s Philosophy Department and the suspension of staff and students.

See an article in the Bookseller on the same.

An article in the Times Higher on the closure and suspensions.

From the campaign email:

Campaign update Wednesday 26 May 2010 (http://savemdxphil.com/)

1. John Protevi and Todd May have posted a petition calling for an international academic boycott of Middlesex University, http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/academic-boycott-of-middlesex-university.html.  Several hundred well-placed people have already signed it, in the space of a few hours.  Please spread the word about this, far & wide.

2. The poet Michael Rosen renounced his visiting professor at Middlesex today. He explained that “On account of the action of Middlesex University over the Philosophy Department, I would like to inform Professor Ahmad that I would like to renounce my visiting professorship. I do not wish to be a visiting professor at Middlesex University. Best wishes, Michael Rosen.”

3. This morning, professors Osborne and Hallward were denied managerial permission to attend an emergency meeting of their union, the UCU, scheduled for Friday 28 May. They were also denied permission to attend the UCU annual general meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, and a meeting of the University’s self-constituted Professors Group.

4. Collective pressure to greylist i.e. boycott Middlesex University is growing rapidly. The external examiners for the Middlesex Philosophy department have already announced their refusal to collaborate with next month’s assessment boards, and colleagues in other departments may soon follow suit. A boycott by external examiners will have a significant and immediate impact on the University.

5. Last Friday Middlesex management told the four suspended students that their hearings would take place this Friday 28 May at the Hendon campus. Fiona Fall, who will preside over the hearings, suddenly decided this morning that it would be ‘better for the students’ to hold the meeting at Trent Park instead, since it is their ‘home campus.’ The four students explained that they would nonetheless prefer for the hearing to go ahead at Hendon as originally planned. But Fiona Fall has made up her mind. ‘As my understanding is that a rally of support is being organised at Hendon,’ she told one of the students, ‘I have decided that Trent Park continues to be the best most calm place to hold the hearings for both students and the panel.’

5. Confirmed speakers for the rally at Hendon on Thursday 27 May from 4pm include Alex Callinicos (KCL), Richard George (Campaign for Better Transport; Plane Stupid), Paul Gilroy (LSE), Nina Power (Roehampton), Jim Wolfreys (UCU), among others. Please circulate the rally announcement and flyer (http://savemdxphil.com/) to everyone who might be sympathetic.

The Campaign,

26 May 2010.

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Excellent!

This evening around 50 students and staff from half a dozen different programmes at Middlesex University’s School of Arts and Education occupied the library at Trent Park campus.

This building is full of books on philosophy, literature, art criticism, music and culture. These books – and the courses and departments associated with them – are severely endangered by management cuts. We are determined to preserve them.

The Campaign to Save Philosophy at Middlesex
Thursday 20 May 2010, 7:30pm

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From Save Middlesex Philosophy:

At 8pm on Friday 14 May 2010, Middlesex University management served a High Court injunction to end a twelve-day student occupation of the Mansion building at Trent Park. The occupation began on Tuesday 4 May, when Philosophy students gathered to protest the management’s abrupt decision to close their unique and successful programmes. The occupation quickly succeeded in focusing remarkable levels of national and international attention on the scandalous situation at Middlesex.

The injunction came into effect at 8am on Saturday 15 May. The students finally decided to end their occupation on Saturday afternoon so as to join a rally, outside the Mansion, in support of the campaign to save philosophy at Middlesex. During the rally, Tariq Ali and members of the campaign spoke out forcefully against the management’s decision to close the programmes, the way this decision was taken, and the way its consequences and implications have been handled.

Read the rest, and complain to the governors, here.

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From the Save Middlesex Philosophy website:

FRIDAY: Roundtable Discussion with Eyal Weizman

We are happy to welcome Eyal Weizman, the Director of the Centre of Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, to the Mansion Occupation on Friday evening. He will be participating in a roundtable on the subject of ‘The Spatiality of Occupations’. Dr Weizman will be speaking on Palestine, Paulo Tavares on the Amazon, Godofrendo on Portugese occupations, and Lorenzo Pezzani on Italians in Libya. The discussion will take place at 8pm.

SATURDAY: Tariq Ali- “Kentucky Fried Education: The Market Assault on Reason”

We’re very pleased to announce that the writer and activist Tariq Ali is coming to the saveMDXphil occupation this Saturday 15 May, 3:30pm, to speak on the struggle against neoliberalism in higher education. Tariq Ali is an editor of the New Left Review and was a leading light of the 1968 radical student movement.

To get to the Trent Park campus, head to Oakwood tube station at the north end of the Piccadilly line and take the free shuttle bus.

Facebook event here. Do indicate if you’re coming and invite your friends!

See the campaign overview here.

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The campaign continues with thousands of signatures to the petition, the continued occupation and vast amounts of coverage – just a fraction below. Do keep up on the latest by checking the website.

Update from Peter Hallward below:

Saturday 8 May 2010

Dear all,

A quick update on the situation at Middlesex:

On Wednesday 6 May, after a rally in support of the occupation of the boardroom at Trent Park, the occupation expanded to take over the whole of the main building on the Trent Park campus (the Mansion building). The students explained their intentions and demands in an open letter, at http://savemdxphil.com/2010/05/07/open-letter-to-middlesex-staff-faculty-and-students/.

On Thursday afternoon 7 May, Middlesex administrators finally met with the students (on condition that no member of staff attend as a silent observer); they apparently confirmed their decision to close the undergraduate programmes, and to freeze recruitment to the graduate programmes. The meeting ended in an impasse.

Since Wednesday evening, the students have been organising a series of informal events in the occupied Mansion building: improvised concerts, discussions, lectures on a variety of topics (Spinoza, Lacan, student and university politics, the mobilisation in Iran…), political film screenings, etc. The current schedule is posted near the top of http://savemdxphil.com/. If you can get to Trent Park this weekend it’s become an interesting place to visit.

The Guardian has a story on the protests and the occupation, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/may/07/philosophy-cuts-closures-middlesex-university.

The Facebook site has a few photos, etc., http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119102561449990&v=photos, and now has more than 10,000 members.

Some of the many letters of support we’ve received are now posted at http://savemdxphil.com/letters-of-support/, and we’ll be posting more letters over the weekend; it’s been impossible to keep up with the flood of email. Some of the most recent letters have been signed by entire departments.

Many thanks again for all your support.

We didn’t make it to the campus on the weekend but look forward to reading more…

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Concern that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects subjects may squeeze out arts in post-92 institutions, writes John Morgan for THE:

Academics fear closure will follow for the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, which was Middlesex’s highest-rated department in the 2008 research assessment exercise. A Middlesex spokesman said no decision had been made about the centre’s future.

In a letter to Times Higher Education published this week, 30 leading academics say the “abrupt closure” of Middlesex’s programmes is “a matter of national and international concern”. The signatories include: Slavoj Žižek, co-director of the International Centre for Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Alain Badiou, emeritus professor of philosophy at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris; and Gayatri Spivak, university professor in the humanities at Columbia University in the US.

Read the full piece.

Middlesex staff and students received a shout-out at Sheila Rowbotham’s packed-out talk at the LRB Bookshop to launch Dreamers of a New Day last night.

Now sign the petition!

Please join the facebook group and spread the word: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119102561449990

Campaign email: savemdxphil@gmail.com

Twitter address for save Middlesex philosophy: @saveMDXphil and website: http://savemdxphil.wordpress.com/

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After a meeting with the Dean and Deputy Vice Chancellor was cancelled by the Dean and Vice Chancellor, students are now occupying the admin area of the campus. From the Save Middlesex Philosophy blog:

“Last week, we were invited to a meeting with Dean of Arts Ed Esche and Deputy VC Margaret House at 10.30 on Tuesday 4th May (the day before our deadlines), to address our concerns about the closure of our Philosophy Department.  Rearranging our commitments at great inconvenience to ourselves, we arrived at the campus for the meeting, only to find it that they had cancelled it the night before.

Security attempted to stop us entering the corridor and called the police, however the police decided to take no action. The students are now sitting in the board room (around 5 feet from the Dean’s office door), waiting for the Dean to show up and address our concerns.

Students are unanimous in our demand: allow us the meeting you promised us.  We have voted unanimously to remain here in occupation in protest of the refusal to meet us.”

Now sign the petition!

Please join the facebook group and spread the word: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119102561449990

Campaign email: savemdxphil@gmail.com

UPDATE

Twitter address for save Middlesex philosophy: @saveMDXphil and website: http://savemdxphil.wordpress.com/

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